New Peugeot 3008 Crossover is so much more

Every now and then a car that offers a different perspective comes along. The new Peugeot 3008 Crossover is the latest example of innovative that I've seen. Peugeot place it at a crossroads between an SUV, an MPV and a hatchback, which probably isn't too far off the mark. Yet, it doesn't just paint the full picture. You see if you or I were to picture our favourite model in each of those segments and try to work your imagination in rolling them into one vehicle, I bet you couldn't. And that why this new car is more than a crossover.

 The architecture of the 3008 successfully combines a single-compartment body shape with elements borrowed from the world of the SUV, such as its lower tailgate, its plunging side windows and raised driving position. The vehicle remains compact with an overall vehicle length of 4.365m, width of 2.113m (mirrors open ) and height of 1.639m.

Sure it's practical, and versatile too as well as delivering a very nice drive. But to top it all off, it has been styled to get your attention, but more as a new style icon than a chunky new model. I can't put my finger on it, and as over analysis can lead to paralysis, who cares - because it works.

Inside the higher driving position is excellent. There is a high level of perceived quality, both visually and to the touch. The cabin offers generous space, is extremely comfortable and is bright and airy thanks to the optional large glass roof. The “multiflex” seat configuration can be converted at will to offer a perfectly flat floor from the lower tailgate to the fascia panel to house bulky objects.

Access to the 3008 boot load space is made easy by the split tailgate. The boot area can easily be compartmentalised thanks to the very cleverly designed floor with its three adjustable positions. The load area has an uninterrupted width of 1,030 mm and a capacity of 512 litres or 1604 litres with the rear seats folded.

The 3008 features both Peugeot’s new 'Dynamic Roll Control' (DRC ) and 'Grip Control (GC )' systems. The DRC is fitted to the rear suspension, a first for this segment, will set new standards in terms of body roll control. Very interestingly, the 'GC' system consists of an advanced traction control system and special Mud & Snow tyres, optimising traction of both front wheels for off-road driving. The driver controls the system by means of a knob with five settings: Standard, Snow, Off Road (Mud/Dirt/Wet Grass ), Sand and ESP off.

The 3008 benefits from very good active and passive safety features combined with the latest technology to provide the best possible protection for all its occupants. The structure and restraint systems are designed to achieve a five star rating under the strict new 2009 Euro NCAP standards. Six airbags are available combined with five three-point inertia reel seatbelts and an audible fasten seat belt warning system. The two outer rear seats are also fitted with Isofix child seat mountings.

To add to the tranquillity and safety of all its occupants, the driver can benefit from technology that is rarely seen in this market segment to include a 'Head Up Display', 'Distance Alert '(helps the driver to respect a safe distance between the vehicle in front according to speed ), 'automatic electric parking brake', 'hill assist', as well as a range of telematic systems with satellite navigation.

  To minimise emissions, fuel consumption and running costs, Peugeot’s most efficient petrol and diesel engines have been chosen, whilst the vehicle weight was kept to a minimum thanks to the use of lightweight materials. To further reduce weight, the thickness of the panoramic glass roof was reduced to just 5mm without compromising safety, laser welding has been used instead of normal spot welding and the front overhang minimised with the introduction of an innovative new type of impact absorber.

I drove both 1.6 litre petrol and diesel versions over a two day global press launch. Both were excellent and complemented the size and weight of the 3008. It handled really well and ride comfort didn't disappoint.

While admitting that there is no direct competitor, Peugeot is targeting the big selling Quasqai with a proposed Irish price of between one and two thousand Euro more than the compact Nissan Crossover. They believe that their more up-market interior and comfort levels will more than make up for that level of premium. Other models being targeted include the Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan and Renault Koleos. Even Mazda CX-7 owners could look at trading down dramatically.

  The 3008 Crossover will be the group’s first vehicle to be equipped with Diesel Hybrid technology. The commercial launch of this four-wheel drive hybrid Crossover with a 2-litre HDi diesel is planned by 2011.

Exact Irish prices and specifications (probably two levels ) for the new Peugeot 3008 Crossover will be announced closer to the launch. I apologise for working up your appetite to see and get behind the wheel of the new 3008 Crossover, because it won't get here until the final quarter of this year. Keep an eye out for it and just in case you forget, I'll remind you.

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